Perform Remote Application Debugging with Gibraltar
We've been there. Your software works great inside your shop, but something went
wrong for a customer. You need to find out what really happened
and get that information to the folks that can figure out the problem and work
on the solution. To get to the root of the issue, you need to figure out:
- How widespread is the problem?
- Is it a new issue or something you've seen before?
- How exactly was the computer configured where the problem happened?
The sooner you can answer these questions, with the least disruption to your customer
the better. Gibraltar includes all of the pieces you need to make this happen:
- The Agent that functions like a black box, recording the characteristics of the
computer running your software and monitoring the application as it runs.
- The Packager, built into the Agent and ready to send diagnostic data to you effortlessly
from within your app.
- The Analyst, ready to make sense of thousands of sessions to find the patterns that
define any problem.
Get The Data from There to Here Effortlessly
Built into the Agent are the tools needed to gather up all the session data and
get it to you in the best way for your situation. With no code changes your users
package up the data and send it to you with the Gibraltar Packaging Wizard. It will
automatically pick the right sessions to send you to give you the whole picture
without sending you sessions you've seen before.
Embedded Systems? No Problem!
Gibraltar is designed with isolated systems in mind - the Packager automatically
scans for removable media like USB keys to write data to, ensures it's uniquely named
and ready to be sent on where a network is available. This is ideal for systems
that never connect to a network, like embedded systems, control platforms, and instrumentation.
Convenient, Compressed Data Format
All of the sessions selected on the remote computer for analysis are bundled together
into a single package. Not only is every Gibraltar session compressed as its captured
but additional binary compression makes packages even smaller and ensures they
aren't corrupted along the way. The package also includes an index to make it easy
to recognize at a glance which sessions are important and which ones you can ignore.
Get to Know the Problem Computers
The Gibraltar Agent records dozens of characteristics of each computer where your
software runs, selected based on industry best practices for what can cause problems:
- Operating System Family, Type, and Edition
- Operating System Service Pack
- Screen Resolution and Color Depth
- OS Architecture (x64 or x86)
- Processor Architecture
- Total Memory
- Processor Cores
- OS Culture
- Process Culture
- Current UI Culture
- Time Zone
- Interactive Session
- Terminal Server Session
The best part is you can get all of this information without relying on the effort
and accuracy of your customers. Perhaps the problem only affects Windows XP running
in English localized for the United Kingdom. Or you only support Windows 2000 SP4
and newer, and the computer is running SP3. The faster you can find these miss-matches,
the faster you'll have a satisfied customer.
What exact version was that?
No application is just one file. By the time your software is up and running its
loaded various parts of the .NET runtime, perhaps some third party add-ons and your
own assemblies. What exact version are they using? Is it coming from the Global
Assembly Cache or not? What processor architecture was it built for? Is it a localized
assembly? It's hard to get good answers to these questions from users.
Instead of asking your users to follow arcane instructions for getting properties
from files and hope they get it exactly right, Gibraltar captures exactly what assemblies
were loaded, where they came from, and when they loaded.
Perhaps they didn't get that last patch, or something else they installed updated
a component you share. Have they updated their computer recently? No wild goose chases
- just the real information on what they had when they ran the application.
The best way to understand how this can change the way you look at your application
is to download Gibraltar and try it for free for 30 days. The Agent is always free,
so you can be sure to capture the data when it happens and look at it later at your
If you want to read more about remote application debugging with Gibraltar, check
out these pages in our product documentation: